Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.01
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Richard Miller
Director
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

EcoHusky - The EcoHusky student group (student governed), which was co-founded by the director of the Office of Sustainability (OS) and remains closely affiliated with the (OS director is the group’s advisor), is a very active group devoted entirely to sustainability and environmentally-themed initiatives for the University. The group has a distribution list of 200-400 students in any given calendar year, with active participation at events and projects of 100-200 members per semester. In addition to regularly supplying volunteers to OS led events as needed, EcoHusky organizes informative events that align with their mission like having speakers, film screenings, tabling events, field trips, clothing swaps, and more.The EcoHusky student group also maintains centralized resources for students wanting to get involved in other sustainability and environmentally themed groups. https://ecohusky.uconn.edu/ecohusky-student-group/

Alpha Zeta – an honorary professional society for students studying agriculture, environment, health, and related areas (student governed). http://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/alphazeta

American Society of Landscape Architects - A student run UConn chapter that hosts guest lectures and workshops related to landscape architecture as well as organizes trips to various landscape architecture projects throughout the region. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/americansocietyoflandscapearchitects

Beekeeping Club – a student group that allows students to engage in both hands on and educational activities related to beekeeping (student governed). https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/beekeepingclub

Birding Club - a student run organization focused on the biology and conservation of birds in addition to the hobby of birding. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/UConnBirding

American Fisheries Society Southern New England Chapter- a sub unit of a national society focused on furthering education in fisheries as well as conservation and research. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/americanfisheriessociety

Dairy Club, UCONN – a student group representing many different backgrounds and academic majors who share a common interest and love for dairy cattle and the dairy industry. http://ucdairyclub.webs.com/ (student governed)

Engineers without Borders – a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life. The UConn chapter is student governed and models its activities after its parent organization. For example, members volunteered at CLiCK, a local non-profit that brings together local small businesses and sustainable food to improve their indoor and outdoor garden infrastructure. https://ewb.uconn.edu/

Eco Garden Club – a student group that chooses a sustainable approach to gardening, using nutrient-rich crops and preserving soil integrity with compost, reduced tillage, and crop rotation (student governed). https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/ecogardenclub

SOS Food Recovery - a Social Service Program within the large organization of Community Outreach.

Food Recovery works in collaboration with UConn Dining Services and the Covenant Soup Kitchen of Willimantic. Volunteers transport leftover UConn cafe food to the
Covenant Soup Kitchen daily, Monday-Friday. This is an effort to create a greener campus and decrease campus food waste, as well as to help the Covenant Soup
Kitchen provide daily meals to the Willimantic community in efforts to reduce food insecurity. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/cofoodrecovery
Forestry and Wildlife Club – a student group representing different majors, for people who share an interest in the outdoors and natural resources (student governed). https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/forestry

Geology Club - a student run organization geared towards students with an interest in geology and Earth sciences. (https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/geologyclub)

Green Building Club-a student governed organization dedicated to providing students an opportunity to learn about sustainable building and to network with professors and professionals in the field. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/ucgbc

Horticulture Club – a student governed club that promotes an interest in horticulture by sponsoring social, education, and volunteer activities https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/horticultureclub

Outing Club - The UConn Outing Club is composed of a group of people who enjoy pursuing outdoor activities (student governed) and frequently go on weekend trips. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/outingclub

Resource Economics Club - The Resource Economics Club is an organization of students interested in resource economics and agribusiness. Membership is open to all majors. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/rec
UConn Scouting Association - This club is made up of anyone interested in the many forms of scouting. They participate in community service, outdoor adventures, and personal development, all with a healthy respect for the environment. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/usa

Sigma Alpha - Sigma Alpha is a professional agricultural sorority that promotes scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship among its members. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/sigmaalpha

Soil and Water Conservation Society - The mission of the UConn Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society is to promote conservation in a university setting as well as to educate and raise awareness on issues of sustainability. Members engage in activities such as trail clean-ups on and off campus, as well as university rooftop garden maintenance, and specifically designed and installed their own rain garden outside of the School of Agriculture building. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/ecc

Spring Valley Student Farm – EcoHouse hosts a student-run farm near the Storrs campus where students learn about organic farming practices. Together they grow a variety of produce and herbs that are used in one of UConn’s Dining Halls, as well as two restaurants in the Student Union. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/svsf

Sustainability Sub-Committee, Undergraduate Student Government - the Sustainability Sub-Committee was created by a lobbying effort from ECOalition and create events and initiatives with environmental themes based off of UConn's 2020 Vision Plan on sustainability. For example, the Committee helped obtain Student Government approval for the initiative to make Environmental Literacy a University of Connecticut General Education requirement. They exist as a subcommittee under USG Student Services. https://usg.uconn.edu/committees/student-services/

UConn Collaborative Organizing – UCCO mobilizes for diversity, equity, and climate action. They prioritize intersectionality to create sustainable solutions that represent everyone and ensure that no person or facet of an issue goes overlooked or undermined. Their goal is to connect organizations on campus to push for collaborative activism and action. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/collab

VegHuskies - The goal of Veg Huskies is to serve as a group of students that can collectively discuss animal welfare and rights issues, vegan and vegetarian diet and lifestyle, and serve as a resource to other students and the local community for information on living vegan or vegetarian, which includes greatly reducing your environmental footprint. https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/veghuskies

Wildlife Society - The Wildlife Society was founded in 1937 as an international non-profit scientific and educational association.(UConn chapter is student governed) https://sites.google.com/site/uconnwildlifesociety/about-us


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

Spring Valley Farm consists of two UConn-owned farm houses which serve as student residences for up to 12 students who grow greens, herbs and vegetables and raise chickens on an adjacent one-acre plot. It's a unique student living experience with a working organic farm that is student operated. In addition, when weather permits, there is a bus to the farm on Fridays that is welcome to all students who wish to volunteer and learn more about the farm. The students from Spring Valley Student Farm set up a stand in the center of campus to sell their produce to the UConn community. The Farm also provides produce for use by UConn Dining Services. Students on the farm and volunteers work on projects like apiaries, edible forest, aquaponics, and more.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pdi8Uq3gTE
https://dining.uconn.edu/spring-valley-farm/

In addition, the UConn student-governed EcoGarden Club maintains a large organic garden on the northern edge of campus.
https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/ecogardenclub

There are several roof-top gardens currently on campus. These gardens help control climate in the building, reduce stormwater runoff, create more permeable surface area on campus, provide insulation, and increase biodiversity, among other things. Additionally, there are bio-rentention gardens across campus that also reduce storm-water runoff and increase biodiversity. Student groups, like Soil and Water Conservation Society assist in rain garden maintenance.
https://ecohusky.uconn.edu/low-impact-development/


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

The Spring Valley Student Farm (SVSF) sells farm-fresh produce, grown using organic methods, at the UConn Farmer's Market every Thursday from 11:30-1:30 PM from May-September. The farmer’s market is located on Fairfield Way. SVSF also sells some of their produce to The Bistro and One Plate, Two Plates, both of which are restaurants located in the Student Union.
http://springvalleyfarm.blogspot.com/
https://dining.uconn.edu/spring-valley-farm/

The UConn Forestry Club also sells sustainably manufactured products. They sell maple syrup as well as handcrafted wood products.
https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/forestry

UConn Blooms is a store on campus that sells fresh and local plants and flowers. Students work and learn about plant maintenance and business techniques.

https://www.facebook.com/UConnBlooms/
https://twitter.com/uconnblooms?lang=en


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The Student Managed Funds, which each control $1 Million investment portfolios managed in conjunction with the School of Business and the UConn Foundation, after consultation with the Presidents Committee for Corporate Social Responsibility (PCCSR), decided to engage in Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing (SRI/ERI). The instructions are below:
Student Managed Fund
Investment and Corporate Social Responsibility
The University of Connecticut (“UConn”) has a longstanding commitment to the protection and advancement of socially responsible practices that reflect respect for fundamental human rights and the dignity of all people. UConn strives to promote basic human rights and appropriate labor standards for all people throughout its supply chain. Promoting these values in concrete practice is the central charge of the President’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility.
UConn is also committed to building a safe, healthy and sustainable environment through the conservation of natural resources, increasing its support for environmentally responsible companies (including renewable resources), and preventing pollution and minimizing waste through reduction, reuse and recycling.
To make SRI/ERI investing consistent with UConn’s commitment:
• Prefer to invest in companies that are compliant with federal and state laws and executive orders in general, and specifically regarding:
• Non-discrimination
• Freedom of Association
• Collective Bargaining
• Labor Standards (wages, hours, leaves)
• Child Labor
• Health and Safety regulations
• Harassment or Abuse Forced Labor
• Environmental Compliance
• Prefer to invest in companies that respect international human rights
• Prefer to invest in companies that comply with foreign law
• Prefer to invest in sustainable industries, such as renewable energy or sustainable forestry
• Prefer to invest in businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performances
• Prefer to invest in Community development financial institutions
http://csr.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/792/2015/11/Student-Manged-Fund-11-04-2015.pdf

The EcoHusky Student Group has a fund that is controlled directly by the members and treasurer of the organization. All of this money goes directly towards environmental initiatives and events on campus and in the Connecticut community.
All environmental clubs on campus have their own funds, which are also controlled directly by the members of those clubs.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:
The Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series developed as a joint effort of a number of departments, out of discussions in 1995 by faculty members and graduate students with common interests in the many facets of environmental issues. The Lecture Series is designed to bring a variety of distinguished speakers to the University to speak on various aspects of nature and the environment.
The poster that highlights every 2017-2019 speaker can be found here:
https://cese.uconn.edu/teale-lecture-series-poster-archive/
https://cese.uconn.edu/the-edwin-way-teale-lecture-series/

Every year, the UConn students who attend the United Nations Conference of the Parties (December 2015 COP25 was in Madrid, Spain hosted by Santiago, Chile), host a poster session titled Climate Cafe open to everyone at UConn where they design and present their takeaways from the trip to the UConn community. The trip is funded completely by UConn, and is open to students of all majors. At the conference, students attend speaker sessions, panels, discussions, and networking events all related to the environment and other elements of sustainability.
The Earth Day Spring Fling is an annual celebration of sustainability co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut Dining Services and the Office of Sustainability. Every Earth Day since 2008, this festival has featured live music, organic local food, eco-friendly vendors, green companies and student groups that join together to produce the greatest day of environmental awareness all year.

Several departments on campus hold lecture series that include speakers and themes of sustainability. Departments include the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, Natural Resources and the Environment, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Landscape Architecture, Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems, and more. Example lectures include “Climate change mitigation potential in coastal wetlands: Research to support management and policy”, “Interactive effects of forest fragmentation and climate change on the carbon cycle”, “Food Waste Policy”: Using Systems Change to Stop Squandering One of our Greatest Resources”, and more.

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
http://lib.uconn.edu/about/events/tealelectures/
http://www.nrme.uconn.edu/index_196_2756093748.PDF
https://eeb.uconn.edu/seminars-fall-2019/


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

The on-campus museum William Benton Museum of Art showed an exhibit titled "Unfiltered: An Exhibition About Water" throughout the entire Fall 2017 semester in collaboration with the following UConn departments: Natural Resources and Environment, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Marine Sciences, and the Institute of Water Resources. Unfiltered explores water as a universal concern and touches specifically on the themes of: the power of water and the changing landscape; water pollution and biology; water scarcity; climate change; the physical properties of water; and the Connecticut River. The exhibition attempts to place on view works of art which provide visual launching points for discussions about these important water-based issues.

During the 2019 Metanoia event, students hosted different arts events and installations related to sustainability. Students from the Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Subcommittee hosted an event called “Visions of the Environment: Community Mural of Student Voices”, where the campus community was invited to create art to express what they thought environmental justice was. A Sociology of Food class also hosted an event called “Food Workshop and Soul Poetry”, where students wrote and read poetry about food sustainability.
The on-campus museum William Benton Museum of Art showed an exhibit titled "Unfiltered: An Exhibition About Water" throughout the entire Fall 2017 semester in collaboration with the following UConn departments: Natural Resources and Environment, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Marine Sciences, and the Institute of Water Resources. Unfiltered explores water as a universal concern and which touches specifically on the themes of: the power of water and the changing landscape; water pollution and biology; water scarcity; climate change; the physical properties of water; and the Connecticut River. The exhibition attempts to place on view works of art which provide visual launching points for discussions about these important water-based issues.

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):

https://benton.uconn.edu/2017/07/18/unfiltered-an-exhibition-about-water/
https://theenvironment.uconn.edu/


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

UConn Outdoors is one of the diverse programs and services hosted by UConn Recreation. Its goal is to offer diverse and enjoyable instructional adventure experiences. UConn Outdoors provides:
- Knowledgeable instruction
- Friendly & attentive service
- Exciting programming
- Quality outdoor equipment & facilities
- Leadership development
Its staff includes outdoor professionals, qualified volunteers and fellow UConn students who have prepared through our training system to offer a fantastic adventure experience. They have led successful programs for the past 14 years throughout New England, the continental United States and beyond. (university governed)
https://recreation.uconn.edu/programs/uconn-outdoors/
UConn Outing Club is a student run club that organizes trips and everything outdoors, including rock climbing, ice climbing, backpacking, white water rafting, camping, hiking, caving and more.
https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/outingclub
The UConn Scouting Association strongly adheres to the scouting principle of "Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints" while going on camping and hiking trips, thus leaving no trace that they were there.
https://uconntact.uconn.edu/organization/USA


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

In the fall of 2017, the planning process and decision was made to hold an entire semester-long Metanoia focused on the environment and broadly-defined sustainability for the spring 2018 semester. There will be cross-campus events, in-class content, speakers and films, and a number of outdoor activities. Proposals for events were accepted from all students and were interdisciplinary. The following spring semester of 2019, “Youth for a Change” was the theme where students organized speakers, events, activism, and film screenings about the power of youth activists. For this theme, students hosted environmentally-related events such as “Visions of the Environment: Community Mural of Student Voices”, and “Food Workshop and Soul Poetry”.
https://theenvironment.uconn.edu/
https://theenvironment.uconn.edu/about-the-metanoia/
https://metanoia.uconn.edu/events/
Additionally, each fall as part of the university's "first-year experience" courses, students can sign up to take courses that relate to sustainability. FYE classes include topics of Landscape Architecture, Food, Sustainability, and more. Further, there is a “first-year experience” course open to environmental science and studies majors in which students can talk to environmental faculty and learn can learn about majoring in the sustainability field.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Students may choose to live in EcoHouse which is a themed dorm (living and learning community) for students who are interested in preserving the environment. Students who want a more active hands on living situation can choose to live at Spring Valley Farm where students become farmers who practice sustainable agriculture.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Office of Sustainability employs a team of student interns whose main objective is to increase sustainability and environmental awareness on campus. Student interns have a wide-range of responsibilities that include organizing a variety of prominent environmental events on campus and making educational outreach material.
Spring Valley Student Farm also employs student farmers over the summer. Applicants must be physically capable of performing the strenuous physical labor necessary to do garden chores under a variety of climatic conditions. The student gardener needs to have a curious mind, an interest in organic gardening methods, good communication skills, a sense of humor in the face of adversity, be able to work independently without direct supervision, good problem solving abilities, and have a proven positive work ethic.
https://dining.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/125/2018/02/SVSF-summer-resident-app-2018.docx
Additionally students may apply for internships concerning social equity through the Human Rights Institute.
The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
http://lc.uconn.edu/ (EcoHouse)
http://humanrights.uconn.edu/internships/ (Human Rights Institute)
https://dining.uconn.edu/spring-valley-farm/ (Spring Valley Student Farm)
http://www.ecohusky.uconn.edu/about/intern.html (Office of Sustainability)


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

Careers for the Common Good (sponsored by the Department of Career Services) sponsors and encourages students to register for socially and environmentally responsible employers. The CCG program at the University of Connecticut, a collaboration between Career Services, the Office of Community Outreach and the Human Rights Institute, provides resources and encourages students to explore career paths that positively affect the community and society at large.


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

At our annual Earth Day Spring Fling celebration, students are given the opportunity to see sustainability in action by visiting our many booths of eco-friendly vendors. We also invite sustainability related campus groups to bring educational displays to promote green awareness on campus.
Spring Valley Student Farm consists of two UConn-owned farm houses which serve as student residences for up to 12 students who grow greens, herbs and vegetables and raise chickens on an adjacent one-acre plot. It's a unique student living experience with a working organic farm that is student operated, enabling students to gain real-world experience with sustainable farming techniques. In addition, when weather permits, there is a bus to the farm on Fridays that is welcome to all students who wish to volunteer and learn more about the farm.
The Hillside Environmental Education Park (HEEP) is a 165-acre trail network on campus that provides students, faculty, and community members with a retreat from the hustle and bustle of campus. Patrons can engage in hiking and biking, and signage is present throughout the park to educate users about the surrounding environment, ecosystems, and low impact development strategies in place to protect local wildlife. In addition, classes often have field trips and coursework that utilizes the HEEP.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
100 #

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.